Interview with Jeff Teper (@jeffteper), VP for SharePoint and OneDrive #espc15

At the European SharePoint conference in Stockholm, Sweden I had the unique opportunity to interview Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President Microsoft – SharePoint and OneDrive.

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I had 3 question for Mr. Teper:

With the new app model and the office add-ins  new developers are interested in office 365. What do you think about that?

That is a good thing. First of all: Developers care about sockets. The number of users they can reach with their applications and in a world where you got the deploy different version of software for different platforms and versions like Office 2010, 2013 and so on, it is hard to plan and there is a long lag before people start to use your application. In the cloud we have a massive number of user embracing Office 365. Consumer and business users and they are current and kept up to date. So the whole ecosystem is literally update within a few weeks from each other. The platform is consistent across all those users. The second is embracing all the endpoints. What we have done with for example Outlook is that you can write an add-in for the consumer and the business version on the web, the WIN32 version. We also added mobile support. The last couple of years we made a lot of effort in putting office on all those endpoints. We now have a program model that works on all those platforms. Basically a hybrid model of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The developers are very keen on this because they want to target all the users on all the devices without needing to write multiple applications. The third thing what we are trying to do is: We have a lot of great developers out there. There are more than a million SharePoint developers worldwide but there are a lot of developers that haven’t been traditionally office developers. We really want to make it incredibly simple for them. We don’t want to read them a 1000 pages book before they can start develop an application. If somebody knows HTML, JavaScript frameworks and CSS, we don’t have to teach them very much. We make it really easy.

What about InfoPath. Any news about that?

First of all: we are extending and committed to support InfoPath for a long time because we know people build solutions on it and there is not always a business case to migrate. The second is that we want to make sure that there is a huge spectrum of choices to build apps and form based solutions. Developers maybe want to use C#, HTML or JavaScript. Other people want to build no-code solutions and here at the SharePoint conference there are a whole bunch of software vendors making products to do that. We are working on some things we are not ready to disclose right now. But for sure we want to make it easy for people to build solutions in SharePoint and Office with very little or no code. We working on some plans for that. I can’t say anything on that for the moment but it will not take too long. Make sure you keep an eye on our blog: blogs.office.com.

Office groups are a great way to collaborate with some people. Behind it is a teamsite you said in the keynote. Will it be possible to enrich the document library with metadata and content types?

The idea behind groups is a common list of people that you can use across all the resources in Office 365. There is a shared calendar, a notebook, conversation and a document library. We want to make sure we solve the simplest needs of the group first and then we go to the more advanced needs. Those a great examples: metadata, workflow and views. We started just with the simple solution. Under the covers, that document library that shows up like “files” in the groups, is actually a simplified version of the teamsite. In that first phase we didn’t have the time to do all the work to expose all the SharePoint functionality into the context of the groups.  We wanted to be sure we got the first step out as really simple. In our roadmap we will make sure that any group will have a real teamsite. We are going to make is modern and easy to use and we will have advanced document library features like metadata and so on.